A labor dispute between Puget Sound garbage service Waste Management and drivers will not impact Mercer Island, according to press release from local hauler Republic Services.
Waste Management recycling and compost truck drivers announced a strike this morning, setting up pickets at several facilities and shutting down collection services in Seattle and the Eastside.
Contract talks between , which maintains its regional headquarters in Kirkland, and Teamsters Local 117 broke down last month (for more on the issues at the bargaining table, including ). The 153 drivers have been working without a contract since the previous one expired on May 31.
Mercer Island contracts with Republic Services (formerly known as Allied Waste) on a long-term contract to collect garbage from the Island's businesses, multi-family complexes and single-family homes, and also provides curbside collection of recyclables and yard waste. with Republic Services on June 2.
“Our agreement was the outcome of a collaborative and respectful process,” said Mike Huycke, Republic’s Northwest Area President. “Both Local 117 and Republic worked toward a mutually beneficial agreement, keeping the employee and the customer in mind. It was our goal to get to a solid contract expeditiously and respectfully.”
Republic said its customer service centers in the Puget Sound area had received several phone calls about how the strike would affect their services, but representatives said they did not expect any impacts to its customers due to the Waste Management strike.
In addition to Mercer Island, Republic Services provides garbage services for Bellevue, Sammamish, parts of Seattle and Issaquah, Kent, SeaTac, Tukwila and several other towns and areas on the Eastside, King County, and Snohomish County.
“You may have seen media coverage about a disruption in the collection of recyclables and waste,” said Huycke. “To be clear, this is due to negotiations between the Teamsters and one of our competitors…and there is no reason to believe Republic’s customers will be impacted by this situation.”
Republic’s local team includes many drivers who are members of Local 117. They are integral to the company and to the community.
“Our employees are the highlight of what we do as a company,” added Huycke. “Each week our offices receive letters, emails and phone calls about drivers who have made a difference in the community.”
In the past few months, Republic drivers have received recognition for various good deeds, from pulling an elderly resident’s cart up to their house to saving the life of someone in trouble in the community.
“Our drivers understand the important role they play in the community and they do their best to keep the community safe and to provide continued, dependable service to customers,” he concluded.
(Ed. Note: Information provided in the article from a Republic Services press release)